Monday, October 18, 2010

New H-2B Visa Rules

By: Chad Cohen

In an issue close to my heart and home, the U.S. Department of Labor has proposed to modify its regulations governing the H-2B visa program, which allows companies to bring in foreign workers for temporary or seasonal non-agricultural employment. My wife was the recipient of a H-2B visa many years ago before we got married and without the opportunity to work professionally in this country, our paths may have never crossed. In fact, she received her H-2B on September 9, 2001, just two days before 9-11 after which all visas were temporarily frozen. And ever since 9-11, the program has been limited by law to a cap of 66,000 visas per year.

This program allows the entry of foreign workers into the U.S. when qualified American workers are not available and when the employment of foreign workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed workers. The proposed regulation would require employers to pay H-2B and American workers recruited in connection with an H-2B job application a wage that meets or exceeds the highest of the prevailing wage, the federal minimum wage, the state minimum wage or the local minimum wage.

Franchise systems and small business alike need to pay attention to the continually evolving H-2B Visa regulations. Good talent is good talent, whether it comes from overseas or is homegrown.

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